Pre-marital counseling did not tell us that one of the largest adaptions we’d have to make in our newlywed life was going to be in the kitchen. As the one who is in charge of our grocery list and making meals, this is a lot of pressure!
Sure I could easily please my husband by making him a can of chili and corn chips for lunch every day and S’mores Pop Tarts for dinner, but as someone who wants her man to live past 35, I just can’t do that.
One day not long ago Rich came home from work and I asked him what he ended up having for breakfast that morning…
“Donuts & coffee…”
Could be worse. Then I asked him what he had for lunch.
I had a small funeral for myself that afternoon, it was lovely.
As the provider of health and nourishment in our home, I take my job very seriously and do my best to find ways to give us both the best on a day to day basis, so he can have his donuts and Doritos moments and I can still rest in knowing we are feeding our bodies right.
But as we all know, eating healthy is unfortunately not necessarily the cheaper way to live. Out of panic we may stock our cupboards with quick and easy snacks just because it’s cheaper (Even though they are full of empty calories and void of nutritional value so you end up eating more, staying hungry and spending more money than you would have if you had just invested in “health” food… I digress…)
So how do we live? How do we balance the budget while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Honestly, I’m still learning, so if you have some tips, let me know!
However, since Rich and I got married we have managed to use only half of our grocery budget while still eating healthy and buying only organic meats, dairy and the dirty dozen fruits and veggies. How do we accomplish such a task? Get ready for it…
We use up all of our food. I mean ALL of our food. And I buy on sale. Say it with me, ON SALE.
You know those paper ads that come in the mail every Tuesday and Wednesday for your local grocery store that you throw away along with the credit card offers you received and the AARP invites that were meant for your previous rental house inhabitant? Yea, those paper ads are my life. I’m not kidding. Every other week I circle what I need/ want, and I buy it. Especially the organic meat that goes on sale. Even if I don’t need it for a meal that week I freeze it. Because if you eat organic, and your name is Dorothy, then you know that organic meat on sale is the Great Wizard of Oz.
There are the staples, however, that I keep in stock pretty much every week of the month, just because I know they are good for us, they won’t spoil quickly, and I know how I can stretch them into a whole lot of meals. Here’s Hil’s Kitchen’s staples and their uses:
Spinach. This stuff organic is dirt cheap with my Cost Co wholesale membership. Like stupid cheap. I partly keep this leafy green around because its one of the few that my husband actually enjoys eating. We use it for smoothies, juicing, sauteing, salads and as an additive to pastas, casseroles, eggs and any other base you can think of.
Black Beans. Again, one of my honey’s fav’s. And yes, I mean in canned form. However buying dry and cooking in the crock pot is super easy and probably even tastier. High protein, low maintenance. We use it for patties instead of hamburger meat (when the organic beef ain’t on sale), burrito/ taco filler, addition to eggs, top it with cheese and scoop with organic tortillas chips (Costco for the chips, dirt cheap), and a topping for salad. “Beans, beans, the magical fruit…”
Quinoa (Keen-Wah). For our gluten free friends. Blessed quinoa. I don’t feel worthy to speak of it because I don’t truly yet know its full power and potential. But I have tasted of it, and I want more. Forget white rice, forget starch, forget carbs, get quinoa. To buy this organic is a bit pricier so I’ve often stuck with non organic. I’m not completely versed in the pesticides used for this grain so this is either an okay decision or a fatal one 🙂 Quinoa is the filler of all fillers and its packed with protein so I mean it literally keeps you full. I’ve used it in place of rice in burritos, in a black bean patty, a patty all on its own, a main dish served with veggies, in place of macaroni in mac & cheese. In place of my 401k. Quinoa. Yes, quinoa…
Onion & Garlic. Red or white onion, I’m no judge. This duo will kick up any dish and the smell of a sauteed onion with minced garlic is the aroma of heaven. Both are always inexpensive and don’t worry about organic because they have those thick shnazzy peels that keep away all the bad guys.
Olive Oil. I consider it a food group.
Spices with personality. Always a worthy investment to have some spices with kick in your kitchen so you can add them to anything and everything. Chili powder, cajun seasoning, curry powder, paprika, chili flakes. Even garlic powder is sometimes all you need.
I’m sure these will shift with the different stages we face in our life and kitchen. Please, let me know YOUR money saving, health building, essential buying ways and let us glean from each other!
For our futures! For Aslan!!